25 February 2012, AEI 12, Standard 20


AEI suffered a setback in their fight for top spot with another away loss with only a scratch 15 which was put together at the very last moment due to several last minute withdrawals and lack of effective communication.

The game had an intended early start but with 45 minutes until kick-off and still at their home club, AEI were only able to confirm 11 players for the start of the match. A decision to go ahead with the fixture regardless was rewarded with AEI managing to unearth four more players by kick-off (thanks should go to Standard for generously allowing time for these players to turn up).

It was perhaps inevitable with such bare playing resources that the AEI were unable to function effectively as a unit and soon allowed Standard to run through almost unopposed to open the scoring 5-0. Standard doubled their lead when they benefitted by keeping numbers out wide although again the conversion went astray. However, having been given such a rude awakening the AEI remembered their pride, passion and skill to fashion a score of their own after sterling work from forwards and backs provided the space for Sam Downs to touch down.

The turning point of the match occurred in the second half when AEI were awarded a penalty under the posts but the referee deemed the quick tap to have been taken from the wrong spot; from the resultant scrum Standard were able to spin it wide and increase their lead to 15-5. AEI continued to battle and were rewarded when returnee Chris Hadley was able to jink his way through the Standard defence to reduce the deficit to 15-12. Standard were able to respond with the decisive score when their winger was able to ground a crossfield kick just shy of the dead ball line and despite AEI’s efforts in an increasingly dominant scrum were unable to add to their tally.